I wanted to express, and I am a serious raging liberal, a public-school teacher, and an environmentalist, how surprised I was to see a representative of a respectable publication trying to start up the anti-Obama rhetoric so soon. After only 30 days in office, I find it naive to criticize the president for doing his best to earn the respect of those whose politics lie on both sides of the aisle. For one, we must see Obama's presidency as an opportunity. He is as level-headed and intelligent a president as we have ever seen. He has publicly exposed and condemned those who have been irresponsible with bailout money, has publicly aimed his guns at greed, and pledged to devote serious attention to education reform. He has a massive strategy to undertake in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama must go about things in a way that allows him to earn respect from his detractors, or else his bi-partisan battles will become impossible and he will not be an effective leader. In order to be most effective in turning around not only the economy, but our schools and our international reputation, Obama must earn the trust and respect of his colleagues on the left and on the right.

In order for change to happen, we need to get America to buy into that change, and that will take time. Years, in fact. More than 30 days, anyway. If we see Obama bowing to Republican lawmakers and cabinet members in 2010, then we might have reason to call attention to it. But in February '09, when the president is just getting his feet wet, all such criticism can do is stir up negative energy among the uninformed and the naive, and fall on deaf ears among the rest of us. Calling Barack Obama "Bush Light" is entirely incorrect.

James Gale

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